Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

California Chrome co-owner whines on over Belmont field

Steve Coburn, cowboy-hatted co-owner of California Chrome, continues to cry foul over composition of the Belmont field.

Getty Images

Steve Coburn, cowboy-hatted co-owner of California Chrome, continues to cry foul over composition of the Belmont field.

NEW YORK — California Chrome went home to the West Coast on Sunday with a bandaged right front foot — and no Triple Crown — after bumping another horse leaving the Belmont Stakes starting gate.

Steve Coburn, who co-owns California Chrome, was still smarting, too.

He spent the day making media rounds expounding on his postrace rant Saturday in which he said Belmont winner Tonalist and other horses in the field that didn't run in either of the first two Triple Crown races took "the coward's way out."

"It's not fair to these horses that are running to entertain these people in all three legs of the Triple Crown," Coburn said Sunday. "It's not fair to them to have somebody just show up at the last minute and run. I may have gone off half-cocked (Saturday), but that's the way I feel.

Coburn said he didn't care if people thought he was a sore loser.

"It wouldn't be fair if I played basketball with a child in a wheelchair because I got an unfair advantage," he said. "If your horse is good enough to run in the Belmont, where was he in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness? It says Triple Crown, not one out of two, one out of three or two out of three."

Under Coburn's premise, three horses would have been in the Belmont: California Chrome, General a Rod and Ride On Curlin. General a Rod finished seventh in the 11-horse field; Ride On Curlin did not finish.

California Chrome had smooth trips in winning the Derby and Preakness to set up a shot at racing's first Triple Crown in 36 years. But he had a rough go in the 1½-mile Belmont, getting a chunk of flesh torn from his right front hoof after bumping with Matterhorn coming out of the starting gate. California Chrome finished in a dead heat for fourth with Wicked Strong.

"It was kind of scary," trainer Art Sherman said. "You come back and see a horse bleeding from the foot. He's never had anything wrong with him. We've been awful fortunate."

The wound is superficial and should heal in two to three weeks, Sherman said. How much did it affect him in the race?

"Well, it couldn't have helped him any," Sherman said. "But… the horse has had (six straight previous wins) and had perfect trips. … You know racing luck means a lot."

It always has been common for horses to drop in and out of the Triple Crown series.

Horses are made eligible for the races in January. Owners and trainers of horses not nominated can pay a late fee of $6,000 in March to get in. The 20-horse field for the Derby is decided by a points system, with horses earning points for running in prep races. The Preakness and Belmont have maximum fields of 14, but no points system is used.

Tonalist was an early favorite for the Kentucky Derby but was forced to skip the race after he got a lung infection and missed a key qualifier, the Wood Memorial on April 5. His last race before the Belmont was May 10; he won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.

Tonalist trainer Christophe Clement told Newsday that to him, there is no controversy. "You can't change the Triple Crown rules." Owner Robert Evans refused to comment.

.Fast facts

Triple Crown perspective

Only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown. California Chrome became the 23rd to win the first two legs, only to lose the Belmont Stakes. That prompted his co-owner to cry foul that horses that hadn't run the previous two legs of the Triple Crown were allowed to race in the Belmont. A look at the past three Triple Crown winners:

. In 1978, Affirmed beat Alydar in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. In the Belmont, Affirmed beat Alydar again. Of the three other horses in that Belmont, only one had run in the Preakness.

. In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown after beating seven other horses in the Belmont; only two of the seven had run in the Preakness.

. In 1973, the Belmont had only five horses because few wanted to face superhorse Secretariat. Of his four opponents in the Belmont, three had not run in the Preakness.

Source: Boston Globe

California Chrome co-owner whines on over Belmont field 06/08/14 [Last modified: Sunday, June 8, 2014 8:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams


    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  2. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  3. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Steven Souza Jr., hugging Mallex Smith after Smith’s solo home run in the eighth inning, feels relief after tests are negative on his injured hip.
  4. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)